EC announces colours for referendum

The Electoral Commission (EC) has announced Red and Dark Brown as the colours for the upcoming referendum to decide whether political parties should sponsor candidates for district level elections in the country.

The citizenry will be required to answer ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ to the question: “Are you in favour of the bill to amend Clause 3 of Article 55 of the 1992 Constitution to allow political parties to sponsor candidates for election to district assemblies or lower local government units?”.

“All eligible voters who intend to vote in favour of the bill to amend Clause 3 of Article 55 are required to thumbprint in the box beside the colour Yellow whilst those not in favour are required to thumbprint in the box beside the colour Dark Brown.”

The referendum is scheduled to take place across the country on December 17, 2019 since the current article does not allow multi-partisan politics at the district level, currently, the president nominates metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) and subsequent approval by respective assembly members.

However, if proposal is approved during referendum, MMDCEs will directly be elected by electorate on political party basis and not nominated by the president anymore, for it to happen, referendum must record at least 40 per cent voter turnout of total registered voters and 75 per cent voting to affirm proposal.

In furtherance of that, the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) has launched a public sensitisation, education and awareness campaign in North East Region on elections and referendum for amendment of Article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution.

The Commission conducted research in 2014, which revealed majority of the citizenry preferred MMDCEs were elected, hence the referendum to enable them to vote on three issues, election of unit committee members, assembly members and to vote “Yes” or “No” for participation of political parties in election of MMDCEs.

Alhaji Abdul Saani, the Northern Regional Director of the NCCE, urged participants to educate, sensitise and create awareness within and outside communities on the need to actively participate in processes while they acknowledged importance of the exercise and urged the citizenry to vote “Yes” for participation of political parties in elections of MMDCEs.

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